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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
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Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My wife and I adopted a neighbor's cat (Socks)several months

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My wife and I adopted a neighbor's cat (Socks)several months ago. They were letting him run loose, so we fed him and sheltered him for about a year and finally brought him into our house and gave him a home. As soon as we took him in we took him to our veterinarian to get him a health checkup. It was found that he has FILV. Our vet, who is very good, said that as long as he does not get into serious fights with our other cats, the other cats should be okay. We have 9 others, all rescue cats, most of whom we rescued ourselves (We have doing this of over 30 years, and most of our cats have lived for about 20 years)(every cat we have ever taken in has gotten, or gets regular medical treatment and checkups. We have always known that we probably have too many per some standards, but when they show up at our door hurting, hungry, and homeless, we can't turn them away. We cannot stand to see an animal starving, thirsty, or in pain.We are not cat hoarders who fill their homes with eventually uncared for cats. We know that we are at our maximum capacity now. Sorry for the long story, so I will get back to Socks. He is a sweet little guy who gets along well with our other cats. We have a 2 story, 4 bedroom, 4,200 Square foot house. with only my wife and myself living there, so there is plenty of room for the cats. In fact they have pretty much claimed 2 of the guest bedrooms for themselves. There is usually a "cat Pile-up" on 2 beds. Socks does not join in on the pileups. The problem with Socks is that he sprays the bed in the Master bedroom. Normally my wife's "Baby" cat is the only cat who stays on that bed. I had a stroke 18 months ago and have not lived at home for that 18 months, so I have not seen the spraying. My wife, who has had to take care of all of them, is nearly at her wits end about the spraying, and has threatened to let Socks go, even though she dearly loves all animals. To me that will be a death sentence for him. I can finally move home in the next few days so I will be able to help her, even through from a wheelchair. We are both in our 60's. I want to keep socks in our home. Socks is always interested in getting outside, but then he has managed to escape he went running to her (no food involved). He just meowed to her and ran to her. After this overlong story my question is: Is there anything we can do to stop the spraying?
Sorry about all of this, I did not intend to write a novel.
Jim Shockey
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Kayla Erickson replied 6 months ago.
Jim, I first want to clarify if Socks was diagnosed with FeLV ( feline leukemia virus) or FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus)?. FeLV can be spread from cat to cat by grooming, sharing water bowls and litter boxes and in urine, which would make the spraying very concerning. FIV does need to have a a bite to transfer. It would help to know which virus we are discussing. If it is FeLV, then I would suggest rehoming since just everyday contact can lead to transmission of the virus. If it is FIV, then the very least you should be keeping Socks separate from all the other cats. In regards ***** ***** spraying, is Socks neutered? That would be the first step, as this will decrease the drive to mark a territory. However, you should know that just because he gets neutered does not mean that the behavior will go away. If he is neutered then there are some diets out there that work to calm a stressed cat. You can also try diffusers that are designed to have a similar effect. If non of these are working, then there are behavioral medications that can be tried. I am concerned about Socks being let go. Since he is infected with a virus , he should not be an outdoor cat since he posses a risk to all other cats outside. If non of these recommendations work, or if they are not an option, then I would recommend surrendering him to the shelter. Hope this provides some clarity, Dr. Erickson, DVM